* Update from the Field
Dear Buffalo Friends,
We are pleased to report that no buffalo have been killed
or harassed this week.
A few buffalo "hunters" have been in town,
scouting the landscape, not finding any animals to kill.
There are four bulls in a Buffalo Safe Zone who have
been seemingly quite content to stay in a neighborhood
where they are welcome and gunners are not. No other
buffalo are out of the park now, neither here on the
West side, nor up North near Gardiner. As long as the
weather holds, the buffalo will take their time with
their migration and, consequently, avoid the bullets
at the boundary. Though no one should have to cringe
because a wild buffalo migrates over an imaginary man-made
line, we can't help but hope they will be content to
remain in relative safety.
Whenever we catch ourselves wishing that buffalo would
stay within park boundaries just so they are not harmed,
immediately, we kick ourselves; that is not fair to
the buffalo. They are nomadic and they must roam. Confinement
equals death. Confinement is what the cattle lords want
for the buffalo. So long as Yellowstone boxes them in,
so long as they are shot, harassed, slaughtered or quarantined
for stepping into Montana, there is no freedom or peace
for them and they remain ecologically extinct in Montana
and everywhere else outside of Yellowstone. Wild buffalo
have endured centuries of slaughter and still they press
on. Sometimes walking right to their deaths, in the
name of freedom they press on. Live free or die. Their
persistence and endurance must inspire all of us to
fight for the buffalo's right to live free.
Last week, we shared with you information about hunters
being allowed to construct temporary roads on national
forest lands to make it easy to access their prey. After
careful research, we have since learned that this activity
is illegal. This has underscored the importance of BFC's
documentation of the buffalo hunt. With a severe lack
of wildlife law enforcement, BFC volunteers are the
only ones monitoring the hunt and we are the eyes and
the ears for the buffalo. Part of our mission is to
document every action against the last wild buffalo.
As difficult as it is to witness buffalo being gunned
down, BFC is recording history; this canned hunt is
unfolding as yet another chapter in America's shameful
tradition of slaughtering wild buffalo. BFC will not
let any part of the buffalo's story go untold.
While this canned hunt goes on, the DOL is clearing
the Duck Creek bison trap of snow, baby Yellowstone
bison are being held in a domestication torture-prison,
and the Interagency Bison (mis)Management Plan still
holds power with cattle interests trying to devise new
ways to keep wild buffalo out of Montana.
Please continue to take action for the last wild buffalo.
There are numerous things you can do including writing
decision-makers and letters to the editor of print media,
contacting radio and TV media, circulate and gather
petition signatures, distribute post cards, show BFC
video footage in your community, participate in blogs,
hold rallies, conduct outreach to hunters and encourage
them to demand habitat for wild buffalo, Boycott beef,
forward our Updates and press releases to your friends
and colleagues, distribute BFC newsletters, volunteer
on the front lines with BFC, and much more. Be creative!
Please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org and
browse the "Act Now!" section of our web site.
Share the buffalo's story with as many people as you
know. Knowledge and action will set the wild buffalo
With the Buffalo,
* BFC Newsletters Delivered - NPS Contact Correction
If you are on our mailing list you should have received
BFC's annual newsletter in your mail box by now. We
hope you enjoy this issue. Please share the information
with lots of people and let us know if you would like
copies of the newsletter to place in your community.
We also have a correction to make. The prefix for Yellowstone
National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis is incorrect.
The phone number should read 307-344-2002. Many thanks
for bringing this to our attention and for getting calls,
letters, emails and faxes to Yellowstone National Park.
This agency is mandated to protect the wildlife in their
care, not harass or slaughter them to appease livestock
interests. They must be held accountable. Don't let
up the pressure! The phone number again is 307-344-2002.
If you're not on our mailing list but would like to
be, or if you would like to distribute BFC newsletters
in your community, please send your postal address to
Thanks for taking action for America's last wild buffalo!
* Colorado Ski Vacation to Benefit Buffalo Field
Thanks to the generosity of a dedicated supporter, BFC
has the opportunity to auction off a week-long ski vacation
in Crested Butte. The winner of the Ebay auction, to
be held from December 7 to the 17th, will be rewarded
with week's stay in a Gold-rated, four-bedroom, three-bath
condominium 500 yards from the base of the Silver Queen
lift; eight free lift tickets courtesy of Crested Butte
Mountain Resort; $650 of Patagonia Ski Gear including
two ski parkas and two hats; a $100 gift certificate
to the Gourmet Noodle; a $33 gift certificate to the
Brick Oven Pizzeria; $50 worth of food from Mountain
Earth Grocery; and a 20% discount on Alpine Express
shuttle service between the airport in Gunnison and
Crested Butte. 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly
to the front-lines work of Buffalo Field Campaign.
Total value of this package is more than $6,080!
Check this link later today to view the auction: http://www.missionfish.org/NPMMF/nphomepage.jsp?NP_ID=10557
Please copy and paste this portion of the update and
forward it on to all your ski-loving friends!
Thanks in advance for bidding on this charity auction,
and to all the individuals and businesses whose donations
have made it possible.
Contact Dan at dan"at"wildrockies.org
with any questions.
* Article: Cowboy Mentality Dominates Buffalo
This is a terrific article that was printed in the Fall
2006 issue of the Western Watersheds Project's newsletter,
"Watersheds Messenger." WWP's mission is to
protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife
through education, public policy initiatives and litigation.
Learn more at http://www.westernwatersheds.org/
Cowboy Mentality Dominates Bison Slaughter
By George Wuerthner
The continuing bison slaughter by the Montana Department
of Livestock outside of Yellowstone National Park is
a demonstration of the "cowboy" mentality
the industry uses to address any problem. Instead of
using its brains, it resorts to brute force. If left
unchallenged, I believe the industry's harsh tactics
pose a threat to free roaming wildlife everywhere.
When you review the facts, it is difficult to believe
that minimizing the threat of brucellosis is really
the motivating force behind the livestock industry's
Reasonable options that could address their concerns
about disease transmission are ignored in favor of deadly
force. This can only be explained if the brucellosis
issue is a Trojan Horse hiding another motive. Whether
admitted, many in the livestock industry fear the expansion
of wild bison outside of parks. Such an expansion of
wild free roaming bison can only come at the expense
of the livestock industry. The industry, realizing this
threat, is attempting to construct a Berlin Wall around
our parks, destroying any animals that wander from these
There are several points to keep in mind. The threat
of brucellosis transmission from wild free-roaming bison
is grossly exaggerated. Most bison don't even have the
Secondly, even if infected with brucellosis, transmission
to livestock can only occur by contact with body fluids.
In other words, brucellosis can be harbored in many
parts of a bison's body and still not pose a threat
to livestock. Thus even if a bison tests positive for
the disease, it may not pose a threat to livestock.
The only bison body fluids that pose a threat to livestock
are those associated with birth or abortion. This alone
means that even brucellosis infected bison wandering
near cattle outside of the primary abortion or birth
season don't pose a threat of infection at all. Yet
this hasn't prevented agencies from killing them.
In addition, since only mature bison cows pose any threat
of transmission, the killing of bison bulls makes no
sense if your goal is mitigation of brucellosis transmission
and only makes sense if control of bison is the ultimate
Third, the brucella bacterium is extremely sensitive
to things like heat, dehydration, and exposure to the
environment. Even if a bison aborted a fetus it is unlikely
the bacteria would remain viable (this is why the notion
of wild free roaming bison not posing a threat is important).
Under a laboratory situation you might be able to transmit
brucellosis from bison to cattle, but that's like suggesting
you could grow oranges in Montana under laboratory conditions.
It's meaningless in the wild. No attempt to determine
the real risks has been performed. The risk isn't zero,
but it's darn close-essentially if other mitigation
measures such as mandatory brucellosis vaccination for
livestock and other measures were implemented.
Fourth, elk and other wildlife also carry the disease.
And if brucellosis transmission were really as much
a threat as the livestock agencies would have us believe,
the target of control efforts should be elk, not bison.
There are far more elk in the Ecosystem than bison.
Even if a lower proportion of elk carried the disease,
their greater numbers and distribution poses a far greater
potential threat. Yet the livestock agency ignores elk.
Why? I think because ranchers do not view elk as great
a competitor for forage as bison.
Fifth, snowmobile use and roads in the park has facilitated
movement of bison, yet livestock agencies make no effort
to restrict snowmobile use. If they were truly concerned
about minimizing bison movement, they should be among
the staunchest supporters of restrictions on snowmobile
travel in the park. But they are silent.
Sixth, mandatory vaccination of all livestock in the
region is still not required. A serious attempt to limit
brucellosis transmission from wildlife should include
such mandatory vaccination as a prerequisite.
Seventh, part of the problem rests with federal and
state laws and regulations. For example, APHIS continues
to suggest that if brucellosis is discovered among domestic
animals, it will have no choice but to yank a state's
brucellosis free status. Yet it does have a choice.
They have the authority to restrict any quarantine to
a much smaller area from a county to even a single herd.
State livestock industries need not suffer merely because
a single herd or a few herds contract the disease. The
agencies don't readily admit this to the public because
they want to create a crisis situation to justify their
Eighth, for a fraction of the funds currently expended
on the capture and killing of bison, compensation fund
could be created to assist ranchers whose livestock
may contract the disease from wildlife to pay for their
extra expenses incurred by quarantine. Better yet, buying
out of ranches in or near public lands where bison roam-such
as the Church Universal Triumphant ranch near Gardiner,
Montana and a few other strategically located ranches
would go a long ways towards removing any threat of
When you consider all of these facts together, the current
slaughter of bison is unnecessary and unjustified. It's
time to question the cowboy mentality of brute force
as a solution to any problem or conflict. ###
George Wuerthner, co-editor of "Welfare Ranching:
The Subsidized Destruction of the American West,"
is a Western Watersheds Project advisory board member
who lives in Richmond, Vermont.
* Last Words
"It seems there is no room on this earth for the
Buffalo, Wolf, Bear, Coyote or anything else. I cry
when I hear of the death of these wild ones. We are
all Related, Man and the Wild ones. What kind of people
kill their own relatives?
Can you imagine a world with out Wildlife? I would ask
Grandfather to take me home because I just couldn't
live here without them. The Buffalo did not have this
brucellosis when the people from across the big waters
came. It was brought here by the cattle. The Native
Peoples here had none of these diseases that these people
brought over here. All of this was brought here from
across the big waters. This land, air and waters were
clean. So now all of a sudden its the Buffalo and all
the Wild ones that are the Enemy. Strange huh? I read
an article about Mad Cow Disease. Did you know it is
caused by cattlemen feeding the corpses of dead animals
back to the cattle so they fatten and grow faster. These
same cattle are pumped up with hormones and antibiotics
so they grow faster. Too bad cattle are not born full
size ready to slaughter. Then the greedy cattle men
would sneak around looking for some other reason to
kill the buffalo. You see they cant spare one blade
of grass. They need every last blade. The State of Montana
is soaked with blood because of cattle and gold.
I want you all to know within a week or so I will be
going to the Sacred Circle for Prayer. I will take up
my Pipe and send my prayers to Wakan Tanka for all of
you and the Buffalo. In closing I want you all to know
because of the courage and kindness you are all showing
I consider all of you as my Brothers and Sisters. Please
keep up you good work and know my prayers are with you
~ Richard Red Hawk